Aquaculture for all

Scalability achieved for seaweed-based plastic alternative

Climate change Water quality Sustainability +7 more

Sway - a California-based bioplastic producer - has unveiled a new ground-breaking technology that they hope will facilitate the production of seaweed-based bioplastics at a commercial scale.

Sway’s new scalable packaging alternative is completely biobased, home-compostable, and micro-plastic free

© Sway

Representing an entirely new category of biopolymer resin, Sway’s Thermoplastic Seaweed resin (TPSea) is a completely biobased, home-compostable, microplastic-free ingredient made from a regenerative ocean crop that contributes to ecosystem structure and functioning, whilst supporting coastal communities.

Sway’s new technology is designed to mesh seamlessly with most scaled plastic manufacturing systems available, enabling growth and massive impact. The packaging sector is the largest generator of single-use plastic waste ­in the world. Sway’s evolving product portfolio made with TPSea includes flexible packaging applications such as polybags, retail bags, and food wrappers for consumer brands, representing approximately 30 percent of all single-use plastic packaging.

This launch accompanies Sway’s successful $5 million seed round led by Third Nature Investments and includes investment from The Helm, Alante Capital, BAM Ventures, Superorganism, and other industry-aligned investors. The funds will be used to support the scaling of Sway’s product portfolio, in addition to catalysing the adoption of the biomaterials by fashion, food, and home goods brands such as J.Crew, Burton, and others associated with the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize.

“Clean oceans, abundant biodiversity, and thriving coastal economies all intertwine with Sway’s success as we accelerate production in 2024,” said Julia Marsh, co-founder and chief executive officer at Sway.

“We believe everyday materials should help to replenish the planet from sea to soil. The launch of our thermoplastic seaweed materials, along with an influx of new capital targeted at scaling production, signifies tangible progress toward a more circular future,” she added, in a press release last week.

Sway’s seaweed materials have variable applications across the packaging industry, while also aiming to add ecological and societal value along the way – unlocking new, streamlined paths to reducing plastic pollution and broadening access to biologically degradable materials. TPSea resin, rolls of film, and finished packaging are now available to packaging manufacturers and consumer brands for adoption.

“Our expansive network of eco-conscious brands are always looking for restorative alternatives to today's mainstream packaging materials. We see this demand across all industries, from food to fashion to cosmetics,” explained Saloni Doshi, chief executive of EcoEnclose - a sustainable packaging supplier.

“With tangible shifts in customer values, brand sustainability commitments, and packaging legislation, it’s clear that innovation leaders like Sway have a keen market ready to adopt their truly unique, thoughtfully produced, biobased materials,” added Doshi.

The company first debuted their thermoplastic seaweed collection in January in Paris at Biofabricate 2024, the foremost gathering of the world’s innovators, brands and investors leading the transition to a biomade future. This debut followed Sway’s previous success, winning the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. The prize helped validate Sway’s product and business model across scale, cost, performance, biological degradation, and environmental & social impact metrics.

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